Life is stranger than fiction. And history repeats itself in strange ways and strange places. It seems we need a new ‘tehwaar’ (celebratory day) in Pakistan from next year onward: a local version of England’s Guy Fawkes night, replete with fireworks and mulled ‘bhang’ (wine is too western). Perhaps we shall call it the Imran Khan Night.

The plot to blow up the House of Lords on the state opening of England’s parliament was discovered in 1605. The plot was led by Robert Catesby, but the failed conspiracy came to be known and commemorated by Guy Fawkes’s name – the chap who was eventually caught in the cellars of the parliament building, guarding dozens of barrels of gunpowder to blow the house to rubble.

How metaphorically apt is the analogy to Pakistan and Mr. Khan of today! This London Plot also, is obviously led by someone other than Mr. Khan. This plot, too, has a stupid Guy Fawkes who got caught plotting to huff and to puff and blow the House down. Our red-faced Fawkes has, ironically, been whistle-blown by the co-pawn, Qadri. But then, the London Gunpowder plot too was given away by an insider. So, our very own London Plot was finally exposed and admitted to by Mr. Tahir ul Qadri in a rather longish interview. Qadri finally gave the lie to Imran Khan’s lies of never having had anything to do with Qadri; he gave the lie to a joint strategy; he gave the lie to ‘friends’ not having gotten the two containers together.

But the icing on the cake, or the run-out in Mr. Khan’s own lingo, was provided by Mr. Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Vice Chairman of Khan’s PTI, who has also admitted to a meeting between Mr. Qadri and Mr. Khan in London earlier in June this year. It may be useful to remember categorical denials by his party spokesperson Shireen Mazari from the time the news of the London Plot leaked. Khan the truthful, of course, was only ever evasive. Honesty. Really.

At this point, by the way, I ‘pity the nation’ of 500 who remain at Mr. Khan’s dharnas . I pity all those change ‘razakaars’ (agents) who believed in the ‘honesty’ of Mr. Khan. He has proven himself to be the first amongst equals of dishonest and base conspirators. One is almost surprised at having the actual script match so well with what was being inferred from observation.

The dismal reality of this impostor is that he is not even willing to back up his own conspiracy with his own resignation from the assembly he calls ‘fake’. Daily, Mr. Khan asks for the popularly elected prime minister’s resignation; daily, he asks for the assemblies to go home. Daily, he announces his party men’s resignations from the law making bodies. Yet, this messiah has not managed to get his own resignation to the speaker of the assembly; his one MNA, the Mukhdoom of Multan, the Vice President of the party, who made it to the inside of the assembly in the middle of the protests left hurriedly after making a speech and without tendering his own resignation either. I salute the patience of the National Assembly members. The only person to have actually resigned from the assembly is the president of the PTI – the same person who exposed the conspiracy to the full. Javed Hashmi has spoken of secret phone calls, and whispered messages from none other than Sheikh Rashid having dictated the move to break into the red zone in concert with Mr. Qadri’s Pakistan Awami Tehreek.

Anyway, what likens the London Plot to the Gunpowder Plot most strikingly is the spectacular failure and the incontrovertible exposure of the conspiracy – to blow the house down.

Mr. Khan is now running off to Karachi, having lost the Islamabad battle. “It’s a gamble,” says an insider talking about the uncertainty surrounding whether the MQM will support the PTI putting together a new and improved show in Karachi. But the very fact that the party is now scooting off to Karachi speaks volumes for their ‘success’ in Islamabad.

The ‘success’ in Islamabad, of course, is down to obvious factors. First, there is the embarrassing lack of numbers to demonstrate street power and popularity of what Mr. Khan demands. The numbers are ignominiously low – except when people turn up to party on Friday nights. Even then, they do not exceed ten to twelve thousand by independent accounts. Second, all political parties in the parliament have, almost shockingly for this country of a chequered and tragic political history, aligned themselves to side with democracy. Third, the Umpire has apparently hurriedly shelved the project for another day, in the face of not having found willing parliamentarians or opposition parties to do His bidding. Please note, the PTI and its 500 cult followers maintain the third umpire to be Allah.

What we are left with is Khan looking more and more foolish. It is clear he understands the Umpire let him down. But being Khan, he now looks keen to do his best to get the Umpire, sorry Allah, get back in the play again – only if he can sustain the match long enough.

The writer is a human rights worker and freelance columnist.